Leonard Bernstein’s Candide directed by James Bonas is the most interesting and exceptionally delivered performance I have ever seen.

It boasts an award-winning team, who won the National French Critics’ award in 2022 for their production of The Snow Queen, Bernstein’s compositional intensity and a phenomenal setting.

If you are not familiar, young Candide is the illegitimate son of a Baron. In love with his stepsister Cunégonde, he is banished from his home after the two are discovered together as they attempt, what they call, a scientific experiment. That is when Candide embarks on a long journey where he will explore the world and its magnificent yet chaotic beauties and challenges. From castles in the Alps to skyscrapers in Montevideo, from earthquakes in Lisbon to the Amazonian jungles beyond the Andes, Candide’s optimism and candour will constantly be challenged by inequalities and difficulties. 

Here are our top three reasons why you should go see Candide by The Welsh National Opera:

  1. The Setting

Candide has the most stunning setting. It was a mix of animations and delicate elements that perfectly embodied the soul of the story. As Candide embarks on his mythical journey, so does the ever-changing, ever-evolving setting. It’s elaborate, perfectly engineered in the plot and a pleasure to see.

2.The Production

The quality of the production was superior to any performance I have watched at WNO. It featured incredible performances both by the main cast as well as by everyone else, with impressive group scenes that were nothing short of perfection. It’s difficult to pick a favourite performer from last night but the following ladies were absolutely phenomenal:

Gillian Bevan for her beautiful interpretation of both Dr Pangloss and the Narrator – Claudia Boyle for her impeccable Cunégonde – and last but not least, Madeleine Shaw, for her interpretation of the Old Lady.

WNO Candide Madeleine Shaw The Old Lady photo credit Johan Persson 06858

3.The Message

First published in 1759, Candide, ou l’Optimisme is a French satire written by Voltaire. WNO’s Candide perfectly delivers Candide’s positivity and candour towards life. Candide’s journey is filled with extraordinary characters, new worlds and unexpected events. Despite any negative encounter, he doesn’t lose his optimism and thrives in spite of everything.

The philosophical end, where the characters learn to value the simple life and realise that the best of all things is actually within and around us, leaves us with a positive attitude towards the world and, perhaps, the future.

Don’t miss Candide at the WNO, click here to find out more.